Delayed Gratification

So, I’ve been playing around with hardware for just shy of 4 months now, and I think I’ve identified the sole thing that I hate about it, and it’s a big one.

With software, I almost never have to wait for anything (outside of XBOX 360 games, anyway, and even then most are downloadable in minutes on a FiOS line). If I need a piece of code, a utility program, or even a new OS, it’s just a download away.

With hardware, I have to wait. And I absolutely STINK at waiting. :slight_smile:

Right now I’m waiting on:

PCBs (from both Dorkbot and BatchPCB)
Modules from Seeed
Tools and supplies from Digikey

How do you all stand it!?! :o

I have been told that patience is inversely proportional to intelligence. I guess software people are smarter than hardware people. :smiley:

Meditation works well for me. Also, another tactic is to try quickly forgetting what you’ve ordered, so when it does finally show up, it’s a nice surprise :wink:

In reality, UPS/FedEx sites flag a probable DOS attack when I’m checking shipping status!

On a side note

… very soon you will get to a point where you will be have a ton of components and boards with you and you wont know why you got them in the first place…you will continue to order another 20 or more of those bypass capacitors because you dont want to search for the 100 you already have some where


This Tuesday evening I was annoyed that my Mouser order had not arrived yet after almost a week. I jumped on their website and looked up my past orders and did not see the order in question. So then I pulled up my shopping cart and there it all was! Guess you so have to hit that submit button before anything will happen :slight_smile:

I clicked the submit button Tuesday evening and had it on Thursday, can’t beat that…

@ Jeff

That’s a good one…on the plus side, at least they didn’t expire your shopping cart, so you didn’t have to go find all the parts again. I’ve been very impressed with how fast Mouser ships. I had to add another resistor to my IR module, and although I wasn’t able to add it to my existing order (which had already been processed) I had the 2nd order within a couple of days. Very quick, they are.

Oh, and I forgot to add that I’m also now waiting on my first ever Ponoko order, a customized version of the .NET Gadgeteer Arcade Console enclosure.

I think I may just asplode from all the waiting. :slight_smile:


Ponoko rocks, although shipping to the east coast takes for-frickin-ever, it seems. They price their shipping such that it is ridiculous to do anything but ground.

@ ransomhall

Yeah, I’m thinking that I won’t be doing a ton of stuff through Ponoko. Love the idea, but I don’t love the impact on my wallet.

Still, while I love the project board that Pete made me, I wanted to have at least one nice enclosure for my gear to show off.

Agree 100% that the shipping rates argue for being patient and going with ground.

One of the solutions/problems with waiting is that you’ll eventually start hoarding any and all broken electronics you encounter. It’s a lot faster & cheaper to go cut a switch or servo off an old inkjet printer than it is to go order one. When we moved last year I hauled three truck loads of “crap” [treasure] off to the dump. I’m trying to resist but stuff is slowly making its way back…

@ Ian

Heh…I think I already have that disease. The RoboSapien with the bad wiring that I mentioned several months ago is still sitting in a box in the garage, because I haven’t been able to bring myself to throw out all those servos. Given the quality (or lack thereof) in its assembly, however, I’d probably be better off trashing it.

There is a fine line between reuse and hoarding :slight_smile: Assuming I am operating under the first use case (my wife assumes the latter) I find that if I take the time to tear down something, I often am rewarded with a few electronic gems. I’m saving up for a hot air rework station to speed up my solid state scavenging. When it comes to motors and other moving components, it’s a crap shoot. I’ve been (literally) burned taking the reuse thing a bit too far.

Best scavenge to date: Defunct DVD-RW laser - these are quite powerful, and can pop (hydrogen filled for extra fun) balloons from 10-12 ft.

@ ransomhall

You just had to go and suggest that, didn’t you? How did you know that I have 3 defunct computers sitting right outside my office door, at least one of which (the same PC I just ripped the power supply out of earlier in the week, to convert to a bench supply) has an optical drive just waiting to be turned into a high-power laser of doom?

So much for what I had planned today… :slight_smile:

@ devhammer -


second - there’s a ton of online videos on how to extract the laser diode without busting it. Has to be a DVD burner to get the maximum wattage. Regular red reader lasers are kinda boring. This became so popular that one electronics shop started selling just the diode to save folks the hassle of busting up a DVD drive. I think anything under 1W is legal to sell without attracting attention from the authorities…

I have one but I’ve found that for stripping an entire board it’s much more productive to just use a hot air gun. My technique is to go out in the garage and heat it above my bench and when the solder starts to flow start tapping the board on the bench and the parts will start falling off. Most of it’s useless parts that I’ll never try to reuse but I keep a clear jar that I’m trying to fill just to decorate my office with. :slight_smile:

Yea, that laser has been on my to-do list for a long time except I’d seen it done with a BluRay laser. Due to their cost it’s been in the back of my mind for while. I just acquired a broken PS3 and that’s one of the projects I had in mind to do with it. If I’d known you could also do it with a DVD-RW I could have done it a long time ago :frowning:

Not sure if a BRRW laser is a higher wattage than a DVDRW. Like you said, the former is still too expensive to do a “live” test.

Assuming this guy really knows what he’s using… I wasn’t aware there was an XBox version that had a BluRay player…hmmmm.

I pulled the laser diode out of the PS3 a couple weekends ago. The housing just arrived today and I’ve got it all wired and mounted. What a gem! It is not only a BluRay (violet) laser but it also has red, IR, & a monitor diode all within the one single diode housing. Unfortunately, I broke the lead for the IR diode while wiring it up. So, I’ll never know what that could have been useful for. But I’ve got a project in mind for the others. It’ll be cool being able to switch between red and violet.

I’m not entirely certain what the “monitor” is but I assume that’s what would read the light bounced back when it’s reading the disk(?). I’ll have to play with that a bit to see what kind of output it delivers. I assume it’s just analog like a light sensor.

I noticed that most places that sell laser diodes are also selling “driver” PCBs. I don’t see much information about what it does and why I need one. I’m running it off a 9V battery with a 150ohm resistor and it’s working fine but I haven’t tried lighting it for more than a second or two. Does anyone know more about this? Am I OK with this or do I need a driver board?

Picking up some blue balloons tomorrow to test it’s power. Stay tuned!

The monitor diode is supposed to give feedback to the laser’s power supply. This is to prevent blowing the laser etc…

For power supply you need a constant current supply. This is to get the most out of the diode.

See for a driver. I don’t know how much current you need though…

I see. So, the monitor provides feedback to the driver.

Any ideas what the PS3 would be using the IR laser for?